Bail Bond Industry Questions the Bureau of Justice Statistics Data Advisory

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Did Pretrial Justice Institute Convince Bureau of Justice Statistics to Soften 22 Years of Studies Results?

The AIA Family of Companies, Allegheny Casualty, International Fidelity and Associated Bond

“But what they are not telling people is that their programs are government funded and are in effect a get out of jail free program for defendants

On March 26, 2010 the Pretrial Justice Institute announced that The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) had issued a Data Advisory for the State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) data. For more than two decades, the BJS has routinely tracked millions of state court felons to determine how commercial bail bond release compares with unsecured release in getting persons back to court.

For twenty-two years that arm of the U.S. Justice Department has published its findings in a report called Bureau of Justice Statistics Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants, and every time commercial bail came out on top significantly. The studies also demonstrated that not only does commercial bail do a much better job in terms of failures to appear, but it also dramatically out performs unsecured release in holding down recidivism.

It is these findings that AIA, the nation’s oldest and largest family of bail bond insurance companies, published in a booklet titled “Taxpayer Funded Pretrial Release: A Failed System." This book over the last year has been distributed nationwide in an effort to educate sheriffs, judges, legislators and local policy decision makers on the ineffectiveness of pretrial release and has been making favorable progress. “Pretrial Release Agency supporters have been using budget issues as an argument to expand their programs,” stated Jerry Watson, AIA Chief Legal Officer. “But what they are not telling people is that their programs are government funded and are in effect a get out of jail free program for defendants. Our booklet shows this information and reveals another piece of information they are not telling their audience, that they are not the most effective form of release for a defendant pending trial.”

In the recently issued BJS “Data Advisory” the group states, “Evaluative statements about the effectiveness of a particular program in preventing pretrial misconduct may be misleading.” “We can only be lead to believe that the Pretrial Justice Institute lobbied with the Justice Department to have this data advisory issued,” adds Watson. “The most interesting question is then why would the Justice Department in effect restate the substance of their earlier message that private sector bail bonding out performs taxpayer funded releases…doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

This cries out for passage of Citizens Right to know law in every state where pretrial service agencies operate. The Citizens Right to Know Bill will require pretrial service agencies to report their performance details. Without this bill taxpayers have no idea where their tax dollars are being spent. AIA and its affiliate surety insurance companies are working diligently with legislative leaders across the country for passage of this important legislation.

About AIA
The AIA family of companies has been partnering with agents across the country for over a century. Formed in 2003 as an alliance of the surety bail industry’s leading companies Allegheny Casualty, International Fidelity and Associated Bond (AIA) utilizes a unique “service- focused” approach to management, that provides its family of agents with the knowledge, tools and commitment they need to grow their business and succeed. With over 150 years of combined experience, AIA has become the overwhelming industry leader in agent service, national coverage, bail written and number of agents. For more information contact AIA Communications Department at (800) 935-2245.

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